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Acute food crises continue to reverse positive development trends in sub-Saharan Africa. As the international community attempts to address the challenges of food security, the focus has largely been on two issues: the devastating effects of food price volatility on the most vulnerable populations, and recurrence of acute food crises. Food reserves have potential to be a first line of defence against food insecurity, but there is a lack of analysis focusing specifically on how food reserves can be used at different levels and in a range of ways. Oxfam’s report aims to fill that gap by analysing recent experiences with local food reserves in the Sahel region, reviewing the factors that determine their failure or success, and assessing innovative instruments (such as linking local food reserves to national reserves; index insurance and stabilization funds) that could contribute to their improvement. This report was updated in July 2013.

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